COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Reuters) - South Korea's Seo Hee-kyung faces an anxious wait before knowing whether she has done enough to win the U.S. Women's Open after the final round was held over until Monday following a day of rain, thunder and lightning on Sunday.
Seo completed her final round late on Sunday night as the clubhouse leader just moments before the tournament was suspended because of darkness on the East Course at The Broadmoor.
The 25-year-old finished at three-under-par after shooting back-to-back rounds of 68. Of the 72 women who made the cut, 30 still had to finish their final rounds but only a small handful had a realistic chance of catching Seo.
Her biggest danger was her compatriot, Ryu So-yeon, who was lying one shot back with three holes to play, including the par-5 17th.
The only other player under par was the American Cristie Kerr, who won the U.S. Women's Open in 2007 and the LPGA Championship last season. She trailed Seo by two strokes.
"I have two holes left. The tournament is not decided yet. I think she's over there celebrating. We all have a chance," Kerr said.
"There are two accessible pins on 17 and 18. I'm playing great. I'm going to go out and swing for the fences and hopefully tie it up."
Under the tournament rules, if there was a tie for the lead, the players would contest a three-hole aggregate playoff.
No Korean player has won on the LPGA Tour this season but Seo was threatening to change that before the stoppage in play. She went through the front nine of her final round in five-under, including a run of four successive birdies from the sixth, but was two over for the back nine as she started to fatigue.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen tomorrow," she said.
"I will just pray and wait. I feel like I'm in a dream. I did my best.
"Even if I would not be a winner, I don't mind. I gave my best. My flight is tomorrow morning, but my manager has canceled it."
The tournament had been plagued by bad weather over the first three days and Sunday offered little relief as organizers desperately tried to squeeze in two rounds.
Play was halted for two and a half hours in the afternoon because of a thunderstorm that rolled in from the nearby Rocky Mountains then again when darkness fell.
Japan's Mika Miyazato started the day leading by a shot after two rounds but slipped down the leaderboard with a third round 76.
Ryu, Kerr and American Angela Stanford were tied for the lead, at one-under, heading into the final round. Stanford surged clear at four-under but fell back when she three-putted for a double bogey at the 11th then bogeyed the 13th and 14th holes before play was halted.
She ended the day three shots behind Seo with four left to play on Monday.
"It's good to know exactly what I have to do," Stanford said. "The good news is I'm playing a stretch of holes that you can make three birdies."
(Editing by Julian Linden)
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